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Published: April 2nd 2006
Universal Studios Japan
Kinda looks like the one in America huh? Here we have Logan, Lisa, Russ, Jessie, Jeff, Brian, and Me
This weekend was a mixture of old Japan meets new Japan: Sumo and Universal Studios Japan. I was extremely excited for this weekend for numerous reasons. A) I think sumo is awesome. B) We were going with an awesome group of Hiroshima JETs ready to leave their mark on Osaka, and C) Who doesn't love theme parks! I have never even been to Universal Studios in California!
So we set out in our bus, of course one person was late, as always, same ordeal on our way to Mt Fuji (same person always!)! Sumo was awesome, again. Yet the atmosphere was VERY different than when I was in Fukuoka. Osaka was the last tournament of the year for these big boys. They were not as genki as they were at the Fukuoka Tournament. They were not up for all those photos that all those silly foreigners wanted to take. They did not want to do silly poses, and not one of them even smiled at me! I dared not ask one of them if I could hug them, kiss them, even touch them. I think it was also very serious because being the last one, they wanted to end well.
Sumo In Osaka
Pretty Flags outside the arena
And, this being my second time watching sumo I was a little more in tune with the actual technique and sport...or as much as I could be. Unfortunately all of our seats were split up so the idea of doing a wave was not going to work that well.
After a great afternoon of sumo and putting back a few beers, we took a brief nap and headed out for a night in Osaka. Now this is where my night turns a little sour. Osaka is infamous for its nightlife. The only other place that can rival it is Tokyo. So much that we were somewhat overwhelmed and didn't really no where to go! After a few bars and a few kombinis later, we settled on a place called PURE. When we got there, we were the only people there! It was crazy! I felt like I was in college again. They gave me a wristband meaning that I had paid for the nomihodai. Felt like I was at a college invitational and they had just checked my ID! Due to lack of competition for the bartenders attention since no one was there we definitely had a little too
much to drink. We settled in our little hobbit hole drinking gin and tonics and screwdrivers. At the club (which turned out to be pretty gaijin oriented, yet still very fun) I met up with fellow Cal student James. He is studying in Yamanashi-ken and was there with his brother. Was great catching up with him...I tell you Berkeley is taking over the world! Also met up with my tatami-timeshare friend, Tom. Lets just say the rest of the night was a blur, and it was one of those nights that you are happy you are alive the next day! I have amazing friends and I think someone upstairs has a their eye out for me! Moral of the story: My friends are amazing (never thought I would find such good ones in Japan), and I am not in college anymore, let alone america...so I need to stop acting like it.
That said, the next day we were brought back to our childhood days of fun as our bus pulled up to Universal Studios Japan. I must say I was overly excited for this day. I haven't been to too many theme parks (disneyland once in my life!) so
this was really exciting for me. For the first 10 minutes I was prancing around the main street and so excited to be there. In the distance I could see big letters "Ghiradelli" similar to the real ones in SF, and was so excited to go hang out in SF Land. This excitement was halted around noon, after we finished the one ride we woudl go on all day, that wasn't necessarily worth it, and we waited 2 hours to get on. We went on The Back to the Future Ride, which was not that cool, not worth the 2 hour wait. In addition, it was all in Japanese! Didn't really sound like Doc! After that we decided to get some food, and waited in line for 45 minutes! Then we went from ride to ride and they were all either broken or had a 2-3 hour wait. All USJ turned out to be was a bunch of lines! The rest of the day we wandered around enjoying the elaborate sets. Jeff and i got all excited about SF Land. We attempted to stand in line for a 90 minute wait, yet once we approached the line and saw people
Jaded? I couldn't even get a smile!!
standing there, not even moving, we said no way. Stirling ended up staying and not coming back to Hiroshima with us. Since he was there late when all the crowds were gone he got to go on all the rides...soooo key to theme parks, go at night!
So a very interesting weekend- a mix of cultures, and I learned a lesson or two about myself. I still love sumo, and definitely want to go back to Osaka and get more lost in the lights and vibrant streets.
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